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Showing posts from November, 2014

Gujarat's lag in higher education is intact, suggest data in new report sponsored by Centre, top industry body

By Rajiv Shah
A fresh report on the status of higher education in India has suggested that, despite a sharp increase in the number of universities and colleges in the recent past, the Gujarat government continues to perform poorly as compared to many other states in ensuring quality education to college-going children. Titled “Annual Status of Higher Education of States and Union Territories in India, 2014”, and sponsored jointly by the Union ministry of human resources and the top industry body, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the report finds that Gujarat government’s per capita spending on higher education (Rs 2,958) is less than nine major Indian states out of 20.
Worse, the report says that the state government spending on higher education is a meager 0.39 per cent of the gross state domestic product (GSDP), which is worse than 12 other states. This, analysts say, suggests that while the state economy may be doing considerably well, the state government has failed to ensu…

Gujarat's slips in rural infant mortality rate, unlikely to achieve millennium development goal by 2015

By Rajiv Shah
Fresh data of the Sample Registration System (SRS), which works under the Census of India, have suggested that Gujarat’s rural areas have failed to improve, and in fact gone down by one point, in its ranking, in the fight against high infant mortality rate (IMR) vis-a-vis other states in the last one decade. According to the latest SRS Bulletin, which was prepared in September 2014 and is based on the data collected in 2013, Gujarat ranked No 12th in a group of 20 major states in rural IMR. What is particularly shocking is that, at 43 IMR per 1000, such so-called backward states like Bihar (42 per 1000) and Jharkhand (38 per 1000) do better than Gujarat.
Other states which do better than Gujarat include Kerala (13), which remains top ranking like before, Tamil Nadu (24), Punjab (28), Maharashtra (29), West Bengal (32), Karnataka and Uttarkhand (34 each), Himachal Pradesh (35), and Jammu & Kashmir (39). Earlier SRS data suggest that Gujarat’s rural IMR ranking went dow…

Gujarat health sector: A lurking rural-urban gap

By Rajiv Shah
Latest data of the Sample Registration System (SRS), operating under the Census of India, suggest that Gujarat suffers from a huge rural-urban divide in infant mortality rate (IMR) rate compared to most other Indian states. Statistics offered by the SRS Bulletin, finalized in September 2014, show that Gujarat’s rural IMR is 43 per 1000, as against the urban IMR of 22 per 1000, suggesting a whopping gap of 21, higher than 20 major Indian states, with the exception of Assam.
Interestingly, the gap remains high despite the fact that well-known experts have been pointing towards poor state of rural infrastructure in Gujarat for the last several years. Apparently, their voice is not being heard. The CEPT University’s Prof Darshini Mahadevia, pointed towards this in 2007, when she wrote that the main problem with Gujarat’s IMR was a very high rural IMR compared to urban IMR. “Other states have shown far better improvement in rural healthcare than Gujarat. This neglect of rural h…

Gujarat govt blames self for poor GSDP growth, says data wing didn't capture Rs 19,792 crore industrial growth

By Rajiv Shah
Rattled by a relatively poor Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growth rate in recent years, two senior Gujarat government officials, ably assisted by an Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) expert, ironically, have put – to quote them --“big question marks on the credibility of the state income estimation and hence on the Directorate of Economics and Statistics (DES) in the state”. They say this in their recent paper, “Measurement Issues in State Income from Registered Manufacturing Sector – Case of Gujarat”, published by IIM-A.
While the IIM-A expert is Prof Ravindra H Dholakia, known for his neo-liberal approach and strong support to the Gujarat “model” of development, the government officials whom he assisted in coming up with the argument, revealingly, are with the state’s powerful statistical wing, DES – Manish B Pandya and Payal M Pateria. Clearly, known to be an excellent economist, without Prof Dholakia’s assistance, the two officials would not have b…

Gujarat’s lag in household power consumption

By Rajiv Shah
The Gujarat government has long claimed that one of the major reasons for the state’s economic progress has been its “excellent” power sector performance. The state’s policy makers have argued, on the basis of Government of India data, that Gujarat’s power consumption, in per capita terms, is one of the highest in India. Gujarat’s new chief secretary D Jagatheesa Pandian, for instance, said in an interview in 2013, quoting Central Electricity Commission figures, when he headed the state energy department, that the per capita consumption of electricity in Gujarat in 2012 was around 1,516 units as against the national average of 879 units. He insisted, “This figure indicates the progress and growth happening in the state. In Gujarat, state utilities are providing an uninterrupted supply of electricity, quality and reliable power to all consumers.” While this may be showcased to prove that Gujarat is at the top in the power sector, it does not tell the full story.
No doubt, t…

A clear case of discrimination? One third of Gujarat's convicts are Dalits, which is highest in India

By Rajiv Shah
In a shocking revelation, just-released Government of India statistics suggest that 32.9 per cent of all convicts and 23.4 per cent of all undertrials in Gujarat’s prisons are Dalits. What makes the situation particularly precarious for the state, being projected as “model” for the whole country to follow, is that Dalits in Gujarat form just about 6.7 per cent (2011 Census) of the total population of the state – lower than any other major state of the country. This would suggest that there are 4.9 times higher convicts and 3.5 times higher undertrials than the proportion of their population – a disproportion activists link with “discrimination” against vulnerable communities.
The data were released early this week by the National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, in a 256-page book, “Prison Statistics India 2013.” The statistics pertain to different aspects of prisons and prison inmates in Indian jails as of December-end 2013. In absolute numbers, there were 3…